By Megan Sayles, AFRO Business Writer Report for America Corps Member email@example.com
JPMorgan Chase, joined by D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser, on September 28, celebrated the grand opening of the Skyland Town Center Community Branch.
The branch is the first of its kind in the Greater Washington Area, and serves the residents and small businesses of Ward 7 and 8 with traditional banking services, as well as with financial health and homebuying workshops, business mentorship and skills training led by a community manager.
“It’s an opportunity, when you come to a bank, to build your life and make your life better, so a lot of things can happen here,” said Mayor Bowser. The community branch is just one of the establishments that comprise the recently developed Skyland Town Center, which includes apartments, restaurants, a pharmacy, a barbershop and grocery store.
The new community branch format is a part of JPMorgan Chase’s 2020 Path Forward Commitment, which pledged $30 billion to advance racial equity for Black and Latinx communities over the next five years.
“When we announce these huge things like a $30 billion commitment, which includes affordable housing for Black and Latinx folks, small business financing and finance education, it happens here,” said Jamie Dimon, CEO and Chairman of JPMorgan Chase.
The Skyland branch itself furthers the firm’s promise to the Greater Washington area under its AdvancingCities initiative. Initially, JPMorgan Chase, in 2018, committed $25 million to bridge the racial wealth divide in the region, but the firm has now invested almost $50 million.
Brian Atkins, a native of Ward 8, serves as the community manager for the Skyland branch. He teaches financial classes covering savings, how to build credit, small business entrepreneurship and money management. He also assists business owners and startups in acquiring capital.
“As a community manager, my role, coupled with my passion for helping others, is to support the community,” said Atkins. “I do this by bringing access to resources and tools that will impact families, businesses and the next generation of residents here in D.C., to make their tomorrows better than their todays.”
Skyland Town Center branch manager Jua Williams said the community branch combines state-of-the-art banking technology and modern design, but the community room that is used for financial education and business meetings is what brings the branch alive.
“Together we help our neighbors imagine a better financial future,” said Williams.
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